Vow of Silence

Non-cooperation seems to be the widespread response to the Vatican investigation of women religious. From Tom Fox at NCR:

With about half of the responses from the nation’s 59,000 women religious accounted for, only about one percent answered, as directed, most or all of the questions contained in the study’s working paper, officially called an Instrumentum Laboris, according to one informed source.

By contrast, according to the source, congregations representing, by far, the greater majority of women religious decided not to comply and answered only a few, or none, of the questions. Many of the 340 U.S. apostolic congregation heads instead sent letters to Millea stating that what they were sending was what the Vatican was looking for.

“Cover letters [to Millea] have been respectful and kind,” one woman, familiar with the responses, told NCR. “Many of the letters have essentially said that what we have to say about ourselves has already been said in our religious constitutions.”

Bishops don’t want to pay. Women aren’t cooperating. Lawyers, canon and civil, have been consulted. Anybody want to render a prediction as to what happens next?

I’d say this is all unfamiliar territory for the Vatican. American clergy might be restive about being hung out to dry by bishops. Over 50,000 religious is a most unangry non-cooperative mood. Bishops demurring on donations. I doubt that the conservative blogosphere would hesitate, though. Just set up a paypal button on every self-styled orthodox web site, right?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to Vow of Silence

  1. Anne says:

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I’m so impressed with their courage!

  2. Michael says:

    So much for their vow of obedience, huh? Impressive, indeed.

  3. crystal says:

    They are courageous – go Sisters :)

  4. Anne says:

    The sisters take a vow of obedience to their superior, or to the rules of their community, not to the bishop or pope.

    • Brian says:

      Can. 590 §1 Institutes of consecrated life, since they are dedicated in a special way to the service of God and of the whole Church, are in a particular manner subject to its supreme authority.

      §2 The individual members are bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest Superior, by reason also of their sacred bond of obedience.

  5. Tony says:

    When you have a nun who is acting as a Planned Parenthood “escort”, you know there’s a problem.

    What sort of sisters would you think would oppose Vatican visitation and what sort of sisters would welcome it? I’d guess the ones who would welcome it would look like the one in the picture on this post.

  6. Todd says:

    I intentionally chose Mother Guerin. She had her hands full with interfering prelates. Mary McKillop would have been another appropriate choice.

    As for the sister (she isn’t a nun) who used to be a PP escort, if that were a standard for investigation, I’m afraid Catholics would have far more to go on with bishops.

  7. Sam Schmitt says:

    After all the talk about “change” after Vatican II, it’s the liberal sisters who now refuse to change.

    Courage? Looks more like stubborness and intransience to me.

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